Thanksgiving Pie Head to Head: Classic vs. Salted Chocolate Pecan Pie

[Photographs: Lauren Weisenthal]

Of all the dishes to hit the Thanksgiving table, none are more polarizing than pecan pie. Me? I can't get enough. It's the gooeyness. How often do you get to eat a big pile of chewy, gooey syrup as part of a respectable meal? Oh, there are pecans in there? That's nice. But all I really need is that goo. And we have a recipe that delivers it in spades.

Then there's most people I know, the buzzkills who harp on how sweet pecan pie is, and how they don't like cooking with half a bottle of corn syrup. It's people like this who started messing around with pecan pie, adding ingredients like salt and chocolate to balance out the sugar. So fine, we have a recipe for them, too.

Which one should you make for your Thanksgiving? Read on.

The Classic

Our pie pro Lauren Weisenthal makes a classic pecan pie with two distinct layers. On top is a crust of toasted pecans that are all about aroma and crunch. Beneath is that glorious goo—with a fat helping of more chopped pecans, of course—that's jazzed up with some complementary flavors. In addition to corn syrup (one of the best ways to get that chewy-gooey texture pecan pie is known for), she adds honey, brown sugar, and vanilla for a dark amber filling that's more complex than what's in your typical pecan pie.

The Twist

Salted Chocolate Pecan Pie

But I get it—not everyone digs straightforward pecan pie. For them there's this salted chocolate number. The gooey syrup loses the honey but ups the brown sugar and vanilla, then gets four ounces of dark chocolate and a sprinkle of Maldon sea salt to balance against the sweetness. That chocolate interrupts the chewy, treacly aspect of traditional pecan pie that haters find so unappealing. Which isn't to say it won't still be the richest dessert at your Thanksgiving.

Actually, it's a very Thanksgiving concept. How do we cut the sweetness of something? Add fat.

That's a pie I can get behind.